Piano Competition names winners

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Winners were recently named in the 2017 Hilton Head International Piano Competition (HHIPC), presented by the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and held March 6-11 on Hilton Head Island. First Prize winner is Ray Ushikubo, age 15, from Japan and the United States; Second Prize winner is Andrew Li, 16, from the United States; Third Prize winner, Jaeden Izik-Dzurko, 17, from Canada.

The Finalists are Arthur Wang, 16, from Canada, and Hoi Leong Cheong, 16, from Hong Kong and Macao.

The winner of the $1,000 Sascha Gorodnitzk Memorial Prize is Biguo Xing, 17, from China; and the $500 winner of the Peter Takács Classical Sonata Prize is Jaeden Izik-Dzurko.

Ushikubo received $10,000 plus a return engagement to perform with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and other performance opportunities. The Second Prize Winner received $5,000, and the Third Prize winner received $3,000. Each of the Finalists received $1,000.

Ushikubo has already performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, and on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Following his solo orchestral debut at age 10 with the Young Musicians' Foundation Orchestra at Los Angeles' Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ushikubo has appeared with pianist Lang Lang at Orange County's Segerstrom Concert Hall, and with pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at Royce Hall in Los Angeles.

During the 2015-2016 season, Ushikubo performed with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Laura Jackson. In the 2016-2017 season, he made his debut with the Pasadena Symphony and Modesto Symphony with conductor David Lockington.

Ushikubo also performed with The Dream Orchestra at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. He won the 2016 Piano Concerto Competition at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and performed the Grieg Piano Concerto with the ACA Orchestra at Benedict Music Tent in Aspen.

Ushikubo was a recipient of the prestigious Davidson Fellow Laureate Award in 2014. Since 2010, he has studied piano with Ory Shihor and violin with Robert Lipsett at the Colburn School's Music Academy.

"This year's Competition included some of the most outstanding young pianists from around the world," said Mona Huff, competition director. "We are thrilled to attract such a high caliber of competitors who are in the top echelon of piano competitions worldwide."

The competitors vied for the top prize Saturday night before a sold-out audience. They performed to standing ovations with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Conductor John Morris Russell.

Five distinguished Judges narrowed the field from 20 competitors to three finalists: Chairman Janice Weber, USA; Angela Chang, Canada; Alexander Korsantia, Tbilisi, Georgia; Julian Martin, USA; Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Italy; and Ursula Oppens, USA.

For more information, contact the HHIPC office at 843-842-5880 or visit www.hhipc.org.

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